Earlier this month, after a grand jury in Staten Island declined to prosecute the cop who placed an unarmed Staten Island father named Eric Garner in a chokehold, Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on ABC’s This Week, where he mentioned having “the talk” with his 17-year-old son Dante when he was little.
“We said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cell phone,” de Blasio explained, “because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”
De Blasio’s frank admission—that he taught his biracial son to automatically obey police officers in spite of their inherent suspicion of young black men—has rattled more than a few members of City Hall’s press corp. It is why, Politico insists, the mayor has “lost the police”: Because he instructed his son not to malign or disrespect the police, but to unconditionally accept whatever they told him to do.
While Politico treats the police’s response as reasonable or natural, the New York Post refuses to even grant the premise of de Blasio’s remarks. Today the tabloid published a jaw-dropping editorial, titled “Dante’s real danger isn’t the NYPD,” in which the Post’s editorial board assures the mayor that black criminals—not violent cops—are much more likely murder his son.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has spoken of conversations with his son, Dante, about the “dangers he may face” from the police. Like so many other assertions connected with the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, it is a fiction—and a dangerous one. Truth is, a young man of Dante de Blasio’s age faces far more danger from violent men his age than he does from cops.
Of course, the Post is delicate enough to avoid specifically mentioning the race of those “violent men his age.” But we know the tabloid really means “black men.” The Post approvingly cites a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jason L. Riley, who argues that the real threat facing black people is simply “other blacks”:
Blacks are just 13% of the population but responsible for a majority of all murders in the U.S., and more than 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. Liberals like to point out that most whites are killed by other whites, too. That’s true but beside the point given that the white crime rate is so much lower than the black rate.
The Post concludes their own editorial on a weary note of contrition, having been forced by de Blasio to point out who, exactly, would be most likely to kill his son:
Normally, we wouldn’t bring the mayor’s son into arguments. But it was the mayor’s choice to use his son to advance a false narrative—one that, by the way, contributes to the distrust among cops that de Blasio was trying to deal with at his desperate press conference Monday.
In other words, the paper’s editorial board never wanted to point out who might murder Dante de Blasio—up until the moment his father confessed he was afraid, and rightly so, for his young son’s life.
At the time of de Blasio’s interview on ABC, there was a certain amount of chatter praising the mayor for being candid and direct about race and policing in ways that President Obama wouldn’t. But if this is what an honest public conversation about race ultimately inspires—the contempt of an arrogant police force and the predatory wink of race-baiting newspaper editorials—it’s easy to see why Obama keeps his platitudes vague.
Photo credit: Associated Press